: I was willing to give you a pass and not respond to your admitted modification of your previous views -- until, that is, you posted this:
Oh, and if X stole in order to buy dope, I would condemn him. But I would do so with respect to norms in my head. And I might be ambivalent in my condemnation for a number of possible psychological reasons.
You cannot condemn someone, based upon "the norms in your head," unless you assert that your
norms should, in some respect, be his
norms as well. And that sets up an objective standard of morality.
If, on the other hand, you're saying that you condemn him not for what he did but for how he made you feel
, then you are expressing something akin to an esthetic judgment, not a moral judgment. X's theft of the money for the purposes of buying heroin, then, would be nothing more than an offense against your esthetic sensibilities, not your ethical standards.
I forgot what our point of disagreement was.
It is that moral relativism provides no basis for saying that some action is either right or wrong (once it does, it ceases being relative). And your
psychologically based position is no better. According to your position, JLN
, the most we can say about someone else's actions is that we like or don't like them; on the other hand, we cannot say that those actions are either good or bad.
I acknowledge a public aspect to morality. It is a system of norms held within a society. But I do believe that the system is distributed unevenly across the population of social members. Not everyone has the same pattern of internalized norms, even though every member knows of the normative inventory (its public aspect). In other words its reality lies in the subjective role it plays in guiding and motivating individual behavior. The exception is the psychopath.
The psychopath (or, more properly, the sociopath) is not an exception, he merely represents the logical dead-end of your argument. If we are our own judges of right and wrong, then the sociopath's actions are uniformly right. By your reasoning, then, there is no more moral person than the person who has no moral conscience.